The US Navy launched the largest military exercise since the Cold War this week. The exercise spans different time zones and involves large numbers of ships and the U.S. Marine Corps. This logistically huge undertaking serves as a warning to both China and Russia that the US can wage a global war on multiple fronts at the same time.
With the name Large Scale Exercise (LSE) 2021, the US will employ a strategy similar to that used in the Cold War, and will even adopt some practices from WWII. It will last until August 16 and, according to the US Navy, includes simultaneous exercises in 17 different time zones.
36 ships and over 50 virtual units will take part in the large-scale exercise, as will five US fleets, six Marine and Marine Corps components, and three Marine Expeditionary Forces. Experimental and advanced technologies are also used, such as unmanned vehicles.
The purpose of the large-scale exercise 2021
JACKSONVILLE, USA – OCTOBER 26: A hovercraft with tanks on board on the beach during the Amphibious Bold Alligator Exercise organized by the US Navy and Marine Corps on the east coast of the United States at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Jacksonville, USA October 26, 2017 in Jacksonville, USA. (Photo by Fred Marie / Art In All Of Us / Corbis via Getty Images)
Vice Admiral Gene Black, Commander of the US 6th Fleet, said, “The LSE will test our commanders across the spectrum of naval warfare from tactical to strategic, and will integrate the Marine Corps to demonstrate the global fleet’s ability to conduct coordinated operations from open ocean to carry out to the littoral. “
Previously, the US had conducted an exercise that replicated an attack by a technically advanced military on its communications systems and logistical networks. This revealed a number of weaknesses in these systems. LSE will make changes to US communications systems and logistics networks to improve their resilience to attack.
Analysts believe the exercise is heavily geared towards sending a message across the United States’ greatest adversaries and potential threats; Russia and China. Nations may hope to thin US forces in the event of war, but the Navy will demonstrate its ability to be present in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean at the same time. In addition, they show their ability to deny the ocean – where an enemy force is prevented from taking control of a marine area.
The large scale of the operation will allow the Navy to synchronize its forces regardless of their position and refine conventional strategies.
“LSE will test our commanders’ abilities to deliver coordinated effects from all directions at any time or anytime. It will help us build the muscle memory necessary to do this routinely at the operational to strategic level of the war, ”said Admiral Robert P. Burke, Commander of US Naval Forces Europe.
Lt Gen. Dennis Hejlik, commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command speaks to junior officers on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge LHD 3 during an amphibious assault drill, Norfolk, Va., 2012. Courtesy of Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Vargas / US Navy. (Photo by Smith Collection / Gado / Getty Images).
The Navy aims to be less dependent on a small number of Key Ships, which if lost will significantly reduce the combat effectiveness of the entire force. By relieving these ships, the entire force becomes more fluid and can absorb losses more easily.
This idea is reminiscent of the US Navy’s strategy in World War II, which worked very well.
“With that in mind, we’re going back to our WWII approach when we had a lot of cheap, good enough stuff and could lose some of it and still move on,” said James R. Holmes, JC Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the US Naval War College in Newport, RI “When we show our adversaries that this approach works, we strengthen our ability to prevent them from attacking ourselves or our allies.”
Adm. Christopher W. Grady, commander of US Fleet Forces Command, said, “We have shifted the focus from the single Carrier Strike Group to a larger fleet-centric approach, challenging the skills of fleet commanders to make decisions with a speed and accuracy that the Opponent outperforms. ”
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This particular exercise will involve civil and military personnel from the United States, but the United States from its allies will join in future exercises.
Despite the tremendous effort required to produce a supposedly Cold War-like show of force, some believe that China and Russia may not interpret the exercise that way.